Recently, I got to sample a lines of sauces created in the Southeast called Nellie’s Sweet and Sassy BBQ Sauce. Being from the Midwest, most of the bbq sauces I use are “Kansas City style”. That is, thick and sweet with a heavy dose of tomato flavor. Intrigued by the possible regional differences in tastes, I couldn’t wait to jump right in to all three bottles!
Label: The picture of “Nellie” on the front sets this sauce apart from the many mass-market sauces on the shelves. It gives one a feeling this sauce is “homemade” or perhaps created in small, hand-made batches. I like the potential marketing aspect presented here.
Original and Hot -Vinegar, tomato and…steak sauce? Perhaps a little molasses? The scent is pleasant, pungent and a just a little different. I checked the label and didn’t see molasses or steak sauce but I did see ‘marinade sauce’. Interesting.
Gold – Vinegar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce are prevalent. Steak sauce is listed as an ingredient in this one but I didn’t pick that up.
Original and Hot – These have the classic red color but it’s evident these are no average sauces. I see bits of black pepper and large crushed pepper seeds floating in a sea of liquid goodness. Both are of medium viscosity.
Gold – As the name indicates, this sauce has a yellowish, golden hue. Dark bits of yummy goodness are dotted throughout. This is a bit of a thicker sauce.
Taste From The Bottle:
Original and Hot – Whoa! The label says ‘sweet n sassy’ but even the original is spicy! But it’s not all heat…there is a fabulous tang as the heat dissipates on Original. The heat seems to linger a little longer on Hot but they seems very similar. This sauce has excellent zing and a superb bite. I can see this going very well on fatty proteins like pork and beef.
Gold – A little smoother than the red sauces but still has good twang. Mustard and Worcestershire hit the pallet first then it finishes with a peppery bite. I’m thinking chicken wings and Gold might be a pair destined for greatness.
Let’s get the bbq fired up. I grilled some chicken breasts with a simple salt and pepper rub, then glazed with Original and Gold separately.
Original: The sauce covered the meat nicely and transformed from a flat crimson into an amazing deep, dark red that screams bbq. The heat mellowed quite a bit while the intense flavors remained. If you want to change boring, bland chicken breast into a tasty treat, this is your sauce.
Gold: The thicker Gold had good ‘cling’. The yellowish tint mellowed just a bit as the sauce sat in a smoke bath and darkened. Black pepper came to the fore-front on the first bite, then faded into a yummy, mustardy almost creamy taste. The next time I make chicken wings or pulled pork, this sauce is going to be the finisher.
Hot: I had this one earmarked for something a little different….ABTs! I sprinkled these little cream cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeno bombs with some Code 3 Rescue Rub, then finished them with a nice slathering of Hot. This sauce didn’t disappoint! The heat seemed to linger a little longer that Original while the taste of cayenne really came out. The next time you want to add a little heat to your grilled food without sacrificing flavor, Nellie’s Sweet n Sassy Hot might do the trick.
Conclusion: The folks at Nellie’s sure have three good products on their hands. The sauces are similar enough to those already on the market to be understood by the consumer but that’s where the similarities end. Nellie’s uses bold ingredients to create unique flavor profiles that can enhance any grilled protein. If you are looking for bold, flavorful sauces, give Nellie’s a try.
For more on their products and to find out just who Nellie is, please see their website http://nelliesbbqsauce.com/